Focus On

Feds announce funding for restorative justice program for B.C. Indigenous youth

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 @ 2:29 PM | By John Chunn

Justice Minister David Lametti on Aug. 13 announced $418,760 over three years for the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society’s Xw-l-ale-cecemala: Kids Come to Life Program. Using a restorative justice model and a focus on culturally based rehabilitation and reintegration, Xw-l-ale cecemala will provide services for urban Indigenous youth involved, or at risk of being involved, in the criminal justice system.

According to the Justice Department’s press release, Xw-l-ale-cecemala’s holistic approach allows the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society to help address the underlying causes of urban Indigenous youth’s involvement in the criminal justice system.

The release added that the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, based in Kelowna, B.C., is also developing a guide to educate community stakeholders about the importance of culturally appropriate approaches to working with Indigenous youth involved in the criminal justice system, as well as delivering awareness sessions in schools on Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act.

“I am pleased to see this thoughtful, holistic and culture-based program to improve outcomes for urban Indigenous youth involved with the criminal justice system. Restorative justice models, such as Xw-l-ale-cecemala, help to promote safer and more vibrant communities,” said Lametti.

“Xw-i-ale cecemala is an urgently needed intervention so that our urban Indigenous youth do not fall through the cracks and become another statistic in an overrepresented system. We need them to know that they are supported and they are valued and this is not their predetermination in society. We take this seriously and look forward to this important work with our urban Indigenous youth and families,” said Edna Terbasket,
executive director of the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society.